Monday, 14 January 2013

Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe, Ultimo

It's always a bit of a dilemma trying to figure out where to go or what to eat for dinner. We're spoilt by choice and the options are endless! The Entertainment Book is our trusty friend who is often very reliable. And even if it isn't, a meal for two for the price of one is a done deal! My partner suggests going to Essen (it's in the EB and better yet, it's BOGOF), he's been and says good things about it. I haven't so I'm up for giving it a go!

We make a reservation before we head into the city, just in case it's busy since it's a Saturday night. We arrive and there are a few available tables. The restaurant floor fills up pretty quickly after we arrive; a big dinner party on a long dinner table and a fair few couples. We sit by the front, right at the window so we get plenty of the natural sunlight that's still shining at 7.30pm. 

We're not too hungry so we just stick with mains. My partner chooses pork knuckle, bread dumpling, jus, sauerkraut ($29.50) and ginger beer ($4.50). I go for farm fresh duck, red cabbage, roesti potato, jus ($29.50). Our waitress is very friendly and attentive. Water is given to us straight away and has wedges of lime in it, which is always a highlight to simple tap water. 

I assume we would have to wait for a good twenty minutes for our meals as I am told that last time my partner was here, there was a long wait for their food to arrive. But to my surprise, my duck arrives in which seemed like fives minutes!

Pork Knuckle, bread dumpling, jus, sauerkraut $29.5

Pork knuckle is covered with an appetising layer of crackling! The pork is a bit dry but the jus is perfect to keep it all moist. My partner enjoys the bread dumpling and sauerkraut, the best kind of German accompaniment! The presentation gives a nice rustic vibe to the dish. I love when food is served on a board and in mini pans! Phoenix Ginger Beer is brought out with a glass and a straw which tastes good but maybe not as good as Bundbergs! 

Farm fresh duck, red cabbage, roesti potato, jus $29.50
I am delighted when my food is presented in a small pan too! The two duck legs are lovely and tasty but are a bit dry in some places. The flavour is rich and quite addictive, making me polish it off in no time! The jus is a bit on the richer side and may even be slightly saltier than what I’m used to but the roesti potato saves the day! It has a golden brown crust while the inside is fluffy and comforting. I would have loved to have more! I personally don’t really like preserved vegetables so the red cabbage didn't sit well with my palate but my partner, who ate sauerkraut all through his childhood, assures it's very good! 

To be frank, I may not have gone to Essen if I didn't have the EB. There is no denying the food was very enjoyable, but I don't think it was worth the price that we would have paid for without the voucher. My dish only consisted of two duck legs, which didn't have too much meat on the bone and would not have been substantial if I was hungry. But maybe this was the occasion where I was paying for the quality of the food and not the quantity. But then again maybe I'm just a big eater! (most likely that..)

Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe
133-135 Broadway

9211 3805

Essen Restaurant & Beer Cafe on Urbanspoon

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